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Ladies & Gentlemen and Robin Stein Team Up on a Still Life Inspired by Moholy-Nagy, Not Memphis

You know all those contemporary still-life clichés, like pastel backgrounds, cactuses, and Sottsass-approved geometric shapes? When New York photographer Robin Stein recently teamed up with Brooklyn design studio Ladies & Gentlemen for a studio visit (coming soon) and impromptu creative photo shoot (pictured after the jump), the longtime friends decided to toss all those ubiquitous tropes out the window and do something different.
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Ladies & Gentlemen Studio’s Form Studies

When we first interviewed Jean Lee and Dylan Davis of Seattle's Ladies & Gentlemen Studio back in 2012, they revealed that a sizable chunk of their design process happens on and around the shelves that line every room in their home studio and serve as a kind of 3-D inspiration board.
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“Etude upholstery fabric by Finn Sködt.” L&G: “We love this photo for styling reasons: Just drape fabric over a shape and call it gooood.”

Ladies & Gentlemen Studio: Scandinavian Design Gallery

Books about mid-century Scandinavian design are a dime a dozen. Jacobsen chairs, Aalto stools, Juhl sofas — you know the drill. But if you've ever been to a design museum in Stockholm or Helsinki, you probably also know that some of the coolest objects made in the region date back to a more unexpected era: the '80s, when good things weren't just happening in Italy, believe it or not. A few months back, we spotted some examples of said amazingness on the Instagram feed of the Seattle design duo Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, which they'd noted were pulled from a vintage book they'd rediscovered while cleaning house. And so this column was born, a place for people to show off strange, beautiful, and mostly out-of-print volumes that wouldn't otherwise see the light of day. Browse selections from Scandinavian Design Gallery in the slideshow here — complete with caption text plucked from the book and sporadic Ladies & Gentlemen accompanying commentary — then let us know if you have a gem of your own to share.
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What inspired your Natural Selection series? “The Aura is about the relationship between a light source (the bulb) and the resulting lamp, highlighted by a simple brass ring.”

Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, Furniture and Product Designers

After Jean Lee met Dylan Davis while studying industrial design at the University of Washington, and after a string of successful school collaborations led them to start dating, the two of them did a semester abroad together in Rome. “Those were the good times,” laughs Lee. “We saw all these independent studios there, and designers working more as artists, and it was really inspiring for us. That wasn't happening at all in Seattle.” And so after they graduated in 2005, Lee went on to work for a messenger bag company based in Philadelphia, while Davis joined the team at Henrybuilt. They did a small trade selling vintage finds on Etsy for awhile, and eventually started repurposing those objects into new designs as a hobby. But what finally led them to join forces as Ladies & Gentlemen in 2009 were the first signs that they might be able to find in Seattle what they experienced in Rome after all: Not only had studios like Iacoli & Mcallister and Grain begun to flourish by making and selling their own work, their new coalition Join was gathering together local designers to collaborate and exhibit together. “Jamie Iacoli asked us to contribute to a show, and were like ‘What the hell? Let’s do it!’”
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Knauf & Brown, furniture designers

Formafantasma, Ladies & Gentlemen, Rich Brilliant Willing: The list of design partnerships that began in art school is pretty endless. But rare is the pair who knew and liked each other enough to not only register at the same university at the same time but also to enroll in all of the same classes, “to keep each other on our toes.” That’s Calen Knauf and Conrad Brown of the emerging Vancouver-based design studio Knauf & Brown talking; the two met through skateboarding more than a decade ago. Brown was a photographer and Knauf a graphic designer, and once they graduated from their industrial design program at Emily Carr, the natural thing to do was to go into business together. “It’s a good partnership,” they say, “because we both have different strengths, but fairly similar aesthetics.” What exactly defines that aesthetic is still a bit up in the air, considering that the two graduated only last year. But what’s emerged so far has shown an emphasis on simple and honest natural materials, like ash and marble, as well as a healthy sense of humor that occasionally surfaces in the form of performance art. For “despite how much of our lives we dedicate to design and our studio, we still place a high priority on having as much fun as possible,” they say. “We both still skateboard, and regularly get up to no good.” Read on for a deeper look into their brand-new practice.
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We’re Bringing 13 American Designers to This Year’s London Design Fair

Next month, Sight Unseen will be exhibiting internationally for the very first time with a curated presentation of 13 of our favorite American designers. Called Assembly, the show will represent the United States as the guest country at the Old Truman Brewery from September 21-24, with new and existing work by Bower, Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Christopher Stuart, DAMM, Earnest Studio, Eric Trine, Iacoli & McAllister, John Hogan, Ladies & Gentlemen, Pat Kim, Steven Haulenbeek, Studio Proba, and Slash Objects.
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Looking for a Graphic Rug? This French Brand Makes the Best Ones We’ve Seen

Here at Sight Unseen, summer has traditionally been our quietest season, a time when we process the chaos of the spring and meditate on what our future might hold. This year, that also means unearthing stories that might have fallen by the wayside, like the new collection CC-Tapis unveiled in Milan this April. We found their showroom at the end of an epic day of walking and the cool space inside — designed for the occasion in dark lacquer and raw wool by Faye Toogood — was one of the best things we saw all week.
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The Best of ICFF, and More: Part Two of Our (Massive) NYCxDesign Roundup

It's mind-boggling for us to think that just ten years ago, during our frequent business trips to Europe, we would constantly get asked if New York Design Week was worth visiting, and we would inevitably respond that no, it was not. But oh, how things have changed. In addition to OFFSITE, Sight Unseen Presents, and everything we covered in our first NYCxDesign story earlier this month, today we're posting a massive roundup of all the exhibitions and launches that happened last week. Take the full tour after the jump.
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Take a Tour of Our 2017 Sight Unseen OFFSITE Show, Part II

With our main show this year focusing on larger, more cohesive collection presentations, we knew we had to find somewhere to feature work from the more emerging designers we're known for launching. Enter OFFSITE Selects, a curated group exhibition of 25 international designers, featuring a few longtime favorites alongside pretty much everyone we've been scouting in recent months.
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House Party Party With Sonos, 2017

Sight Unseen and Sonos kicked off New York Design Week together in 2017 with a festive takeover of the brand's Soho flagship, in which five New York design teams hosted "house parties" inside the store's five freestanding home pods.
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A Down Under Furniture Brand Meets an American Favorite in Soho

Opening today, one of our favorite design duos, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, will be launching a concept shop in SoHo for the month of May, showcasing the new Australian design brand SP01. Over/Under, as the project is called, presents a leap for L&G beyond objects like lighting, furniture, and jewelry, and into a holistic interiors experience. SP01, making its U.S. debut, looked to L&G for a concept beyond the traditional showroom, a place where guests could relax.
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